Sunday, November 3, 2013

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Butternut Squash

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{This post is prior to my gluten-free days. Please use caution when following this recipe if you must eat gluten-free. Always check individual ingredients to ensure they're gluten-free before consuming.}

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Butternut Squash. I mean, the name makes my mouth start to water.

I got the idea for this recipe from a couple of different sources. Everybody was mixing pork tenderloin and apples together and I thought that it sounded fantastic. However, I decided that onions were a must to round out the flavor and then I wanted to include a colorful veggie, which of course, butternut squash was a perfect fit. It's fall-y and delicious. And it all goes in the slow cooker. It couldn't be any easier!

When I went to Publix to grocery shop for all these ingredients, they only had a whole butternut squash and not the bagged, cubed (the open-the-bag-and-dump-it-in) butternut squash. I thought to myself, "Let's learn a new life skill!" So I got adventurous and bought a whole butternut squash.

I then learned why my mom always told me to just buy the bag of squash at Walmart.

It's a little more difficult then I originally anticipated. BUT! I did some research on the internet and found some effective ways and methods for cutting it. So if you would like to be adventurous, I am going to include how I cut up my squash. It was messy and fun, and, in a pinch, I would do it again. But if you want simple and quick, buy the bagged version. If you are going to use bagged squash, scroll past the squash tutorial to the actual recipe. 

How to cut a butternut squash into pretty cubes:
1) Wash off the squash. By chance, if there is anything germ-y on the outside, you don't want to contaminate the inside when you cut into the squash. I used our little veggie brush to scrub it.
2) You want to stabilize it so you can cut the squash without cutting yourself. So cut an inch off the top and bottom.

Now this sounds super easy, but the squash is kinda rock solid. Therefore, you're going to need a lovely assistant to help you. (Shout out to the hubs!) I got Kyle to hold the knife while I hammered/tapped it down through the squash with a rubber mallet. I wrapped the mallet in ziploc bags (pictured below) because it's Kyle's toolbox mallet and I didn't want those germs on or in my squash.

3) Then I used the same method of "chopping" to cut the squash in half so that the pieces were a little more manageable.

4)Next, you need to peel the squash. I attempted to use a vegetable peeler to no avail. Best way to peel it is to use a knife. I peeled til I got past the green stripes to the meaty part of the veggie. I think it took me twice around the squash.

5) Then you just cube it up.

6) So repeat steps 4-5 with the bottom half. But you also have to scrape out the inside (the guts) before you can cube it. Just use a metal spoon.
And finally you have pretty cubes of butternut squash.

Ok so that really did not take as long as it did to read all the pictures and steps. It was fun to do something new!

Now the actual recipe!

So you have your cubed squash, thinly sliced apple, and thinly sliced onion (in semicircles). 

Season your tenderloin with salt and pepper. Rub or massage it in.

So then you layer it in the slow cooker: squash on the bottom, onions next, pork tenderloin on top of the onions, then the apples. Sprinkle the garlic powder over everything the in whole slow cooker. Next add the cinnamon. Then the brown sugar. Then you pour the apple cider and water in. And then you're done. 

Put the lid on it and go worry about something else. Dinner is done! 

We served it over brown rice because it has a nice sauce that we wanted to be soaked up. This also added a whole grain. Yay fiber! 

Check out a printable version of the recipe HERE

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Butternut Squash
  • butternut squash (either a whole one or a bag of cubed squash)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into semi-circles
  • 2-3 apples of your choice, thinly sliced (we used a red delicious and a gala. it was what was in the kitchen)
  • pork tenderloin
  • salt and pepper to rub on the pork
  • 11/2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (darker brown sugar has more nutrients)
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder (estimation; I just shook it over the top of everything lightly)
  • 2 cups apple cider (bought a half gallon of it at the store next to the OJ)
  • 1/2 cup water
1) Layer everything in the slow cooker in this order starting at the bottom: 
  • squash 
  • onions
  • pork tenderloin (already salt and peppered)
  • apples
  • garlic powder
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • apple cider
  • water

2) Cook for 3 hours on high and 1 hour on low (Some places on the web say to cook pork tenderloin at low for 4 hours. I just wanted to make sure everything got soft and delicious so I just eyeballed it.)

3) Serve over brown rice.


So try this and let me know what you think! Would you add something to it? If so, what would it be?

Much Love,


  1. This looked so good, I just had to try it. Used half a pork loin instead of tenderloin w/a Gala and Granny Smith apple. It was delicious! Whole family enjoyed and my house smelled great all day too. Will be making this again.

    1. Awesome! I also love how GREAT the house smells while it's cooking! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the feedback!